Joseph Cornell, Ernie Gehr


At the request of Martin Ebner the films
ROSE HOBART (Joseph Cornell, USA 1936, 16mm, 19 min) and
SIGNAL – GERMANY ON THE AIR (Ernie Gehr, USA 1985, 16mm, 34 min) will be shown and discussed

on March 12, 7 p.m. at Cinema Arsenal 2, Potsdamer Straße 2, Berlin

Cornell’s first and most impressive film ROSE HOBART is essentially a new version of East of Borneo, a jungle drama by Universal Pictures from 1931 with Rose Hobart and Charles Bickford. ROSE HOBART transforms the banal plot of East of Borneo intentionally into a maze.


„Joseph Cornell appropriated a print of the Hollywood film East of Borneo that he had found on a flea market. He re-cut it, shortened it and added images, giving it a new soundtrack so as to create a completely new and self-contained piece. Moreover, Cornell also tinted the film blue, which was originally black and white, by screening it through a tinted glass at the first screening. He played sentimental dance music on a record player. For the print that he made decades later with Jonas Mekas for the Anthology Film Archives in New York he decided upon a reddish-purple color and this provisional or perhaps now final version is also in the Arsenal archive. In this version the soundtrack is an audio cassette or mp3/CD with mambo music from the 1960s that is played parallel to the film when it is screened (but not in sync).“ (Martin Ebner)


For the detailed Forum catalogue PDF (German only) from 1983 see the Arsenal film database.

Ernie Gehr created SIGNAL – GERMANY ON THE AIR during his DAAD artist grant residency in West-Berlin in 1985.
The title SIGNAL – GERMANY ON THE AIR refers to the audio track of the film, which was mainly composed of radio recordings by Gehr.

see also:
Michael Sicinski: „Working Through the City: Ernie Gehr’s Signal – Germany on the Air“, (draft #3 / in progress)